Within most health care professions, there are standards, which prohibit sexual relations with a current patient or client and these standards are specific to that profession.
Individual professions differ as to permissible consensual sexual contact with former patients or clients; some forbid relationships for a period of time while others place a burden on the professional to show that the patient has not been exploited or manipulated. Unfortunately, sometimes sexual contact, even if allowed by the medical professional’s field, is not consensual and can result in severe mental trauma and physical injury.
In sexual abuse cases, the plaintiff may have the option of pursuing the matter in the civil justice system, filing a police report to pursue the case through the criminal justice system, or filing a complaint with the Department of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs, the state agency that oversees licensing of all health care professionals. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, the facility in which the medical professional worked may also be liable for negligent security.
In a medical malpractice case involving inappropriate sexual contact, the abuse or misuse of the relationship of trust between the licensed health care provider and the patient provides the basis for a civil action. Given the specialized training of a doctor and the vulnerability of a patient, there is a power dynamic that can be exploited by the health care provider.
Damages in these types of cases can be non-economic such as emotional distress, as well as economic such as the significant cost of ongoing therapy and medication needs, loss of earning capacity, wage loss, and loss of services. In addition, the patient’s spouse may have a claim for loss of society and companionship and loss of consortium.
These cases can be complex and emotionally charged, and require compassionate and competent representation by an experienced attorney. With so much at stake, you need to make the right choice the first time to ensure that your rights are protected.
Don’t take chances. Contact Sommers Schwartz today to learn how we can help you get the recovery you deserve.